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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shawshank Redemption -1994

The Shawshank Redemption 
(Cadena perpertua) 1994
Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

Andy Dufresne is a young and successful banker whose life changes drastically when he is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and her lover. Set in the 1940's, the film shows how Andy, with the help of his friend Red, the prison entrepreneur, turns out to be a most unconventional prisoner.

Listen to these videos and follow the worksheet. Enjoy the journey.
To read about activities, go to
video=. Trailer

video1. APPROVED stamp

to know about speeches and communications click here

i guess i just miss my friend

Shawshank Redemption - Hope is a good thing... (Letter)

Shawshank Redemption> click: The message ... (final words

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Classics in class

Classics in class
When I was a child, I learned many new facts by reading Snoopy cartoons.
Snoopy is maybe the most beloved cartoon from the USA (I am not 100% sure though).
In this class, I will share some Snoopy cartoons to you. Then, you will practice English language skills, and also learn something new about my favorite cartoon.

Do you speak English....?

video with subtitles

Do you speak English?

She: Excuse me, excuse me, Sorry,Do you speak English ?
He: No, I don't, sorry.
She: Aha, My car's broken down.
I wonder if you could tell me where to find a garage.
He: You know, That's a waste on me.
I dont understand what you are saying.
She: You don't speak any English at all.
He: Not a word. There's one of these things
I wish I'd paid more attention in school
(to he2) Excuse me, excuse me?
Do you speak any English?
He2: English , no- What's the problem?
He1: I don't know, I cant understand her.
She: My car is broken down, and I need to find a garage.
He2: No , I am sorry, I didn't understand you at all.
She: Alright, well, thanks.
He1: Anyway, If you go down that way, about half a mile. There's a village. there might be some lads there who speak English.

She: Ich spreche ein bisschen deutsch, sprechen Sie deutsch? - Parlo una mica d'alemany, parla l'alemany vostè?
He1: Deutsch? Nein. Sprichts du deutsch? - Alemany? No. Tu parles alemany?
He2: Deutsch? Nein, nur eins oder zwei Wörter, aber ich bin nicht flieBend. - Alemany? No, només una o dues paraules pero no fluid.

He1: We couldn't be of much help.
He2: Sorry about that. You never know.
He1: Next time you are over, maybe we would have learnt a little bit of English for you.

e1: Oder deutsch vielleicht! - O alemany potser!
He2: Ja, das wäre toll - Sí, aixó seria fantàstic.

He1: I can speak English!
He2: So can I.

prohibited: trousers

From Laudator temporis acti
We take trousers for granted as normal male attire and snigger at alternatives like kilts, but throughout much of ancient Greek and Roman history pants were seen as clothing typical of barbarians. In the late fourth century A.D. they were even banned by imperial order within the city limits of Rome.
Codex Theodosianus 14.10.3 (June 6, 399): intra urbem Romam nemo bracis utatur.

The Greeks didn't have a native word for trousers, so they borrowed anaxurides from Persian. The Latin word bracae (sometimes spelled braccae), whence English breeches, may also be a loan word from Gaul.

The Greeks didn't have a native word for trousers, so they borrowed anaxurides from Persian. The Latin word bracae (sometimes spelled braccae), whence English breeches, may also be a loan word from Gaul.

Lo que el nombre esconde: wallace, wales, estranger

Lo que el nombre escopnde...

Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.
(Julius Caesar)

Desde los Gálatas de los evangelios, a los Valones de Bélgica, de Walnut a la Galicia polaca!
Asterix era Gallum, y en Rumania la región antigua se llama Valaquia.
Siempre extranjeros en casa suya. Los otros no ponen los nombres.

Gallic:1672, from L. Gallicus "perteneciente a los Galos": del Celta (see Gaelic), aunque algunos lo relacionan con el antiguo Germánico: *walkhoz "extranjeros" (see Welsh). Originally used in Eng. rhetorically or mockingly for "French."


El gaélico escocés (Gàidhlig) llegó a Escocia alrededor del siglo V, cuando los escotos de etnia celta y provenientes del norte de Irlanda se asentaron en la costa occidental, llevando una variedad del gaélico que sustituyó a la antigua lengua de los pictos hablada en la zona hasta entonces. De ahí su similitud con el gaélico hablado en Irlanda y la Isla de Man.
El irlandés o gaélico moderno (gaeilge en irlandés) es un idioma hablado como lengua nativa en la isla de Irlanda por cerca de 194,000 personas, predominantemente en las regiones occidentales rurales de la isla. El irlandés era la lengua principal de Irlanda antes de que los ingleses conquistaran la isla durante la Edad Media. A partir del primero de enero de 2007, se incluyó como idioma oficial de trabajo de la Unión Europea.

por copiar de un diccionario de etymology:

O.E. Wilisc, Wylisc (W.Saxon), Welisc, Wælisc (Anglian and Kentish), from Wealh, Walh "Celt, Briton, Welshman, non-Germanic foreigner;" in Tolkien's definition, "common Gmc. name for a man of what we should call Celtic speech," but also applied to speakers of Latin, hence O.H.G. Walh, Walah "Celt, Roman, Gaulish," and O.N. Valir "Gauls, Frenchmen" (Dan. vælsk "Italian, French, southern"); from P.Gmc. *Walkhiskaz, from a Celtic name represented by L. Volcæ (Caesar) "ancient Celtic tribe in southern Gaul." The word survives in Wales, Cornwall, Walloon, walnut, and in surnames Walsh and Wallace. Borrowed in O.C.S. as vlachu, and applied to Romanians, hence Walachia.

para aprender que tenemos buenas preguntas...

Al-Andalus -Gothica sors - *landahlauts

Halm (1989) took as his points of departure ancient reports that Germanic tribes in general were reported to have distributed conquered lands by having members draw lots, and that Iberia during the period of Visigothic rule was sometimes known to outsiders by a Latin name, Gothica Sors, whose meaning is 'lot Gothland'. Halm thereupon speculated that the Visigoths themselves might have called their new lands "lot lands" and done so in their own language. However, the Gothic language version of the term Gothica Sors is not attested. Halm claimed to have been able to reconstruct it, proposing that it was *landahlauts (the asterisk is the standard symbol among linguists for a linguistic form that is merely proposed, not attested). Halm then suggested that the hypothetical Gothic language term gave rise to both the attested Latin term, Gothica Sors (by translation of the meaning), and the Arabic name, Al-Andalus (by phonetic imitation). However, Halm did not offer evidence (historical or linguistic) that any of the language developments in his argument had in fact occurred.

Halm, H.: "Al-Andalus und Gothica Sors", en Welt des Oriens, 66, 1989, págs. 252-263.

Por una visón diferente de la península, A Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain de Chris Lowney
Por un contexto històrico més ampli, inevitable el llibre : El crisol de dios
El islam y el nacimiento de Europa (570-1215)
David Levering Lewis

interessante el blog de LA Arbonaida, desde Granada

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Numbers, origin of numerals

Roman numerals didn't support arithmetic as they were simply abbreviations for physical amounts. In fact business people in ancient Rome would use calculators whenever they needed work with Roman numerals. The calculator back then was the abacus.
To read about alphabet history, click here.

So while the Roman Empire came to dominate the world, their system of numbers was in reality not as good as what was to replace it.

Roman Numerals were superceded by the Arabic Numerals we use today. And how did the new signs, symbols emerged?

0. VI-IX centuries:
knowledge of the Indian number system was known in lands soon to become part of the Arab world as early as the seventh century.  
Severus Sebokht as a Christian bishop of Nisibis in Mesopotamia would have been interested in calculating the date of Easter (a problem to Christian churches for many hundreds of years). This may have encouraged him to find out about the astronomy works of the Indians and in these, of course, he would find the arithmetic of the nine symbols. As he speaks in a manuscript (662) of “this computation is done by means of nine signs,” the zero seems to have been unknown to him.

By 776 AD the Arab empire was beginning to take shape and we have another reference to the transmission of Indian numerals. We quote from a work of al-Qifti Chronology of the scholars written around the end the 12th century but quoting much earlier sources:-

... a person from India presented himself before the Caliph al-Mansur in the year [ 776 AD] who was well versed in the siddhanta method of calculation related to the movment of the heavenly bodies, and having ways of calculating equations based on the half-chord [essentially the sine] calculated in half-degrees ... This is all contained in a work ... from which he claimed to have taken the half-chord calculated for one minute. Al-Mansur ordered this book to be translated into Arabic, and a work to be written, based on the translation, to give the Arabs a solid base for calculating the movements of the planets ...

Now in his work (
The Universal History of Numbers) Ifrah tries to determine which Indian work is referred to. He concludes that the work was most likely to have been Brahmagupta's Brahmasphutasiddhanta (The Opening of the Universe) which was written in 628. Irrespective of whether Ifrah is right, since all Indian texts after Aryabhata I's Aryabhatiya used the Indian number system of the nine signs, certainly from this time the Arabs had a translation into Arabic of a text written in the Indian number system. 

01.  What of the current numerals themselves ? (click on link)
We have seen in the article Indian numerals that the form of the numerals themselves varied in different regions and changed over time. Exactly the same happened in the Arabic world.
Here is an example of an early form of Indian numerals being used in the eastern part of the Arabic empire. It comes from a work of al-Sijzi, not an original work by him but rather the work of another mathematician which al-Sijzi copied at Shiraz and dated his copy 969.

The numerals from al-Sizji's treatise of 969

The numerals had changed their form somewhat 100 years later when this copy of one of al-Biruni's astronomical texts was made. Here are the numerals as they appear in a 1082 copy.

The numerals from al-Biruni's treatise copied in 1082

In fact a closer look will show that between 969 and 1082 the biggest change in the numerals was the fact that the 2 and the 3 have been rotated through 90°. There is a reason for this change which came about due to the way that scribes wrote

1. On the road to Europe, Did it enter thru Sicily, Italy? thru the Pyrenees?

The first Arabic numerals in Europe appeared in the Codex Vigilanus written in the Riojan St Martin's Albelda Cloister in the year 976.

we can learn about our numbers.

The origin of hindi and arabic numerals
The word "Shunya" for zero was translated into Arabic as "صفر" "sifr", meaning 'nothing, empty' which became the term "zero" in many European languages from Medieval Latin, zephirum (in Catalan it became 'xifra', English, cipher).

En realidad los números que conocemos en la actualidad son una evolución y estrictamente, tal vez este mal llamarlos arábigos ya que son una versión latina de lo que originalmente eran los números hindú arábigos. Los ideogramas (glifoa) usados en la actualizadad para representar los números fueron creados por Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (c.778 – c.850). Al-Khwarizmi nacio en Asia Central, actualmente Uzbekistan, donde desarrollo el actual sistema decimal manuscrito, basado en las notaciones para el ábaco.

2. From 9 to 10 figures.

Abacus and Hindu-Arabic numerals (wikipedia)

Reconstructed Ancient RomanAbacus.
Gerbert learned of Hindu-Arabic digits and applied this knowledge to the abacus, but according to Charles Seife without the numeral of zero.[8] According to William of Malmesbury (c. 1080–c. 1143), Gerbert got the idea of the computing device of the abacus from a Spanish Arab. The abacus that Gerbert reintroduced into Europe had its length divided into 27 parts with 9 number symbols (this would exclude zero, which was represented by an empty column) and 1,000 characters in all, crafted out of animal horn by a shieldmaker of Rheims.[4][9][10] According to his pupil Richer, Gerbert could perform speedy calculations with his abacus that were extremely difficult for people in his day to think through in using only Roman numerals.[4] Due to Gerbert's reintroduction, the abacus became widely used in Europe once again during the 11th century.[10]

To read about the topic, please click on Development of shapes of the numbers, glyphs, (our other post).

A history of mathematical notations, byFlorian Caiori:

"The forms varied considerably. the number five was the most freakish. An upright 7 was rare in the earlier centuries.

3. But in the north of Spain we have the figure of Gerbert:

Gerbert compiled a list of rules for computing with his abacus, Regula de Abaco Computi, in which he painstakingly explained how to multiply and divide, as well as add and subtract, in the new system.  A companion work, Liber Abaci, by his student Bernelin, is often included in the collected works of Gerbert;

It predates the book of the same name by Leonardo of Pisa (ca. 1180-1250), a.k.a. Fibonacci, by two hundred years. During the 1100's the "Arabic" numerals were a topic of great interest among European scholars, and several translations of the Algebra appeared. In 1202, he published a famous book Liber abaci explaining and popularizing the Hindu-Arabic system, the use of the zero, the horizontal fraction bar, and the various algorithms of the Algebra. Leonardo (better known today by his patronymic Fibonacci, "son of Bonaccio.")

writes in his famous book Liber abaci published in Pisa in 1202:-
When my father, who had been appointed by his country as public notary in the customs at Bugia acting for the Pisan merchants going there, was in charge, he summoned me to him while I was still a child, and having an eye to usefulness and future convenience, desired me to stay there and receive instruction in the school of accounting. There, when I had been introduced to the art of the Indians' nine symbols through remarkable teaching, knowledge of the art very soon pleased me above all else and I came to understand it, for whatever was studied by the art in Egypt, Syria, Greece, Sicily and Provence, in all its various forms.

4. The road towards recognition: Genoa-Pisa-Normans-Papacy

The Holy Roman emperor was Frederick II. He had been crowned king of Germany in 1212 and then crowned Holy Roman emperor by the Pope in St Peter's Church in Rome in November 1220. Frederick II supported Pisa in its conflicts with Genoa at sea and with Lucca and Florence on land, and he spent the years up to 1227 consolidating his power in Italy. State control was introduced on trade and manufacture, and civil servants to oversee this monopoly were trained at the University of Naples which Frederick founded for this purpose in 1224.
Scholars at his court had corresponded with Fibonacci since his return to Pisa around 1200. These scholars included Michael Scotus who was the court astrologer, Theodorus Physicus the court philosopher and Dominicus Hispanus who suggested to Frederick that he meet Fibonacci when Frederick's court met in Pisa around 1225.
Johannes of Palermo, another member of Frederick II's court, presented a number of problems as challenges to the great mathematician Fibonacci. Three of these problems were solved by Fibonacci and he gives solutions in Flos which he sent to Frederick II. Liber abaci, published in 1202 after Fibonacci's return to Italy, was dedicated to Scotus.

5. The Jews connection
Why do we Europeans use the 'O' figure instead of the dot of the Arabic language (Arabs use the "." = the number 5)?
The connexion seems to stem from the Jews.
Ibn Ezra, in the 12th century, wrote three treatises on numbers which helped to bring the Indian symbols and ideas of decimal fractions to the attention of some of the learned people in Europe. The Book of the Number describes the decimal system for integers with place values from left to right. In this work ibn Ezra uses zero which he calls galgal (meaning wheel or circle).

In Ibn Ezra’s translation of al-Bīrūnī’s Ta’amē lūhōt al-Chowārezmī(“Commentary on the Tables of al-Khwārizmī”; the Arabic original is lost) there is interesting information on the introduction of Indian mathematics and astronomy into Arabic Science during the eighth century.
Ibn Ezra wrote a number of astrological works ... translated into French in 1213 by Hagin, a Jew in the employ of Henry Bate at Malines (Mechelen), who in turn translated the French into Latin. Both the French and the Catalan translations are of great philological interest.

Epilogue. The book origin of the arabic

hispanic connections by R. Lemay

el món precolombí

els grans viatges del
món precolombí

1421 & 1434
Gavin Menzies

also, When china ruled the seas. de L. Levathes



En el nuevo esquema, que voy a demostrar en este libro, el indoeuropeo habría dado origen al latín, por una parte, y por otra, al italiano antiguo, mucho tiempo antes de la época romana; luego, el italiano antiguo habría dado a luz las diferentes lenguas romances, mientras que el latín no tuvo descendencia.

– ¿Cómo pudo producirse la desaparición de las mismas formas gramaticales en todas las lenguas romances?

– ¿Cómo pudo producirse la aparición de las mismas formas gramaticales en todas las lenguas romances?

– ¿Cómo explicar la desaparicion de las mismas palabras latinas y la aparición des las mismas palabras no latinas en todas las lenguas romances?

– ¿Cómo explicar la desaparición de los adjetivos, de los adverbios, de los verbos latinos más corrientes en todas las lenguas romanas?

la lengua no evoluciona tan rápidamente:

De même que l’anglais est une langue germanique qui a absorbé de nombreux mots français, les langues romanes sont issues d’un « italien ancien » totalement distinct du latin , qui au contact du latin s’est enrichi de nombreux mots latins, donnant l’illusion aux analystes peu scrupuleux que les langues romanes viennent du latin.
Chanson de Roland, me limité a modernizar la ortografía, sin invertir el orden de las palabras ni cambiar ninguna de ellas.

Le roi masile eut fini son conseil
dit a ses hommes : « Seigneurs, vous en irez,
branches d’olive en vos mains porterez
si me direz a charlemagne, au roi,
pour le sien dieu qu’il ait merci de moi,
ains ne verra passer ce premier mois
que je l’suivrai od mil de mes fideles. »[11]

poema del Cid con la traducción en español contemporáneo.

Ya, Señor glorioso, Padre que en çielo estas
(Oh, señor glorioso, Padre que en cielo estás)
Fezist cielo e tierra, el terçero el mar
(hiciste cielo y tierra, el tercero el mar)
Fezist estrellas e luna, el sol pora escalentar
(hiciste estrellas y luna, el sol para calentar)
Prisist encarnacion en Santa Maria Madre
(te encarnaste en Santa María Madre)
En Beleen apareçist, commo fue tu veluntad
(En Belén apareciste como fue tu voluntad)

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, ché la diritta via era smarrita. Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura, esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte che nel pensier rinova la paura ! Tant'è amara che poco è più morte ; ma per trattar del ben ch'i' vi trovai, dir'o de l'altre cose ch'i' v'ho scorte. Io non so ben ridir com'i' v'entrai: tant'era pien di sonno a quel punto che la verace via abbandonai.[13]

Traducción en italiano contemporáneo:

Nel mezzo del cammino di nostra vita
Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
perché la dritta via era smarrita.
Ahi, quanto a dire quale era è cosa dura,
questa selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
che nel pensiero rinnova la paura!
Tanto è amara che poco più è morte;
ma per trattare del bene che io vi trovai,
dirò delle altre cose che vi ho scorte.
Io non so ben ridire come vi entrai:
tanto era piena di sonno a quel punto
che la vera via abbondai.[14]


Francés antiguo: « Ceste année les aveugles ne verront que bien peu, les sourdz oyront assez mal, les muetz ne parleront guieres, les riches se porteront un peu mieux que les pauvres, et les sains mieux que les malades. »[10]

Francés moderno: «Cette année les aveugles ne verront que bien peu, les sourds entendront assez mal, les muets ne parleront guère, les riches se porteront un peu mieux que les pauvres et les bien-portants mieux que les malades».

sources: Ribero Meneses (as in video - Febrero 2008 Canal 33 TV3 iberiacunadelahumanidad


globalsociology, How Americans see our planet


GlobalSociology, networks, humour

google translator - joke humour psyche

using google translator

TEASPOON, cup or bucket?

During a visit to a psychiatric institute, I asked the Director, what criteria was used to define whether or not a patient should be hospitalized.

'Well,' said the Director, 'we ask them to take the following test: We fill a bathtub, then offer the patient a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket and asked them to empty the bathtub. Depending on how they empty the bathtub, we know whether or not you have to intern and to start treatment '
"Oh, I understand I said. - A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon and cup.
- No - said the Director - a normal person would take the cap .... You prefer: a room with or without a view of the garden? ...

I'm sure you thought of the bucket ...
Oh Gosh!! .. what kind of friends I have been with all these years !!... ha, ha
MY GARDEN ROOM faces the garden... AND YOURS?

de cuerdos y de locos


Durante una visita a un Instituto Psiquiátrico, le pregunté al Director, qué criterio se usaba para definir si un paciente debería o no ser Internado.

'Bueno,' dijo el Director, 'hacemos la prueba siguiente: Llenamos una bañera, luego al paciente le ofrecemos una cucharita, una taza y un balde y le pedimos que vacíe la bañera. En función de como vacíe la bañera, sabemos si hay que internarlo o no y con que tratamiento empezar'

-Ah, entiendo- dije. - una persona normal usaría el balde porque es más grande que la cucharita y la taza.
- No - dijo el Director - una persona normal sacaría el tapón.... Usted que prefiere: ¿una habitación con o sin vista al jardín?

¿Y tu?
Estoy seguro que pensaste en el balde...

Madre mía!!.. con qué clase de amigos

he pasado todos estos años!!...jaja


Brands -Dorling kinderley

Where are we looking? backwards or forwards?

Tales of miletus -Answers/Respuestas

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:
Tales De Mileto 9 Respuestas

to read about his Lost tales by Tales of Miletus click here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

globalsociology, learning sheets, health

cartoons with attitude

LOGO refresh

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

The Times has an interesting little slide show of corporations doing a “logo refresh.” That’s graphic design speak for rehabilitating a corporate logo. Lots of market research is done to find the most pernicious way to trick people, er–I mean, communicate the essence of the company through bold, brilliant design.

A few years ago Wal-Mart’s logo may have projected strength and stability. But in a recession where job losses are in the millions and corporations are (rightly) vilified, Wal-Mart’s logo starts to resemble a Soviet force coming to town to hollow out small family-owned candy shops run on a modest profit for five generations. Time for a refresh.

aniolibraim jugant a benicassim

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Prova 1-DACKSAnnioli-TO Slideshare

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:


Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

If You Get a Speeding Ticket, Should Your Income Determine the Price?

In Finland, speeding tickets are based not only on how fast you're driving, but also on how much money you make. Mental Floss has a great rundown...

Read more:

anioli TO slideshare

copy from my download file here

Gabriel Garcia Marquez says goodbye

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

web20, fotos, irlanda, kanye

Children on County Clare -surfing school


picasa manipulation art




photorealism, manipulation, where is the limit?

Murphy's law and Crime in Heroic failures -by S. Pile

"Murphy's law" writes Stephen Pile in an entertaining new publication The Age, Nov 1979


In August 1975 three men were on their way in to rob the Royal Bank of Scotland at Rothesay, when they got stuck in the revolving doors. 

They had to be helped free by the staff and, after thanking everyone, sheepishly left the building. A few minutes later they returned and announced their intention of robbing the bank, but none of the staff believed them. When, at first, they demanded £5,000, the head cashier laughed at them, convinced that it was a practical joke.
Considerably disheartened by this, the gang leader reduced his demand first to £500, then to £50 and ultimately to 50 pence. By this stage the cashier could barely control herself for laughter.
Then one of the men jumped over the counter and fell awkwardly on the floor, clutching at his ankle. 

The other two made their getaway, but got trapped in the revolving doors for a second time, desperately pushing the wrong way.


In 1978 Sussex police launched a hunt for a “six-foot, dark-haired youth of about 20” who failed to mug a five-foot, 74-year-old grandmother.
The youth sprang upon Mrs Ethel West while she was walking through Chichester Cathedral cloisters. The result should have been a forgoneconclusion. Surprisingly, however, when Mrs West grabbed the mugger’s wrist, he cried, “Oh God! Oh no! Stop!”
Encouraged by these pleas, she put him in an arm lock at which the mugger cried, “Oh no, oh Christ!” and ran away.
“If I hadn’t been carrying my shopping, I would really have put him on his back,” said Mrs West who took a course in judo when younger.
“Before my husband died I used to practise throwing him at Christmas,” she explained.


Choosing the right moment is vitally important in any crime. Mr David Goodall of Barnsley, for example, set off in January 1979 to do a bit of shoplifting

He had hardly entered Barnsley’s British Home Stores when he was simultaneously seized by eight pairs of hands. 

The shop was holding a convention of store detectives at the time.


Intending to steal cash from a supermarket in 1977, a Southampton thief employed a unique tactic to divert the till girl’s attention. His method was to collect a trolley full of goods, arrive at her till and put down £10 by way of payment. She would then take the money and open the till, upon which he would snatch the contents.
He arrived at the cash desk and put down the £10. She took it and opened the till; but there was only £4.37 in it. Undeterred, the Southampton thief snatched that and made his getaway, having lost £5.63 on the raid.
The till girl was considerably uncertain what to do for the best. She screamed briefly until calmed by her friend Betty.

Pile, Stephen (1979). Book of Heroic Failures: Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What do prisons do?

At its best, any prison is so unnatural a form of segregation from normal life that—like too-loving parents and too zealous religion and all other well-meant violations of individuality—it helps to prevent the victims from resuming, when they are let out, any natural role in human society. At its worst, the prison is almost scientifically designed to develop by force-ripening every one of the anti-social traits for which we suppose ourselves to put people into prison. (I say ‘suppose’, because actually we put people into prison only because we don’t know what else to do with them . . . ) Prison makes the man who is sexually abnormal, sexually a maniac. Prison makes the man who enjoyed beating fellow drunks in a bar-room come out wanting to kill a policeman . . .

Probably we cannot tomorrow turn all the so-called criminals loose and close the jails—though, of course that is just what we are doing by letting them go at the end of their sentences. No, Society cannot free the victims Society has unfitted for freedom. Doubtless, since the Millennium is still centuries ahead, it is advisable to make prisons as sanitary and well-lighted as possible, that the convicts may live out their living death more comfortably. Only keep your philosophy straight. Do not imagine that, when you have by carelessness in not inoculating them, let your victims get smallpox, you are going to save them or exonerate yourselves by bathing their brows, however grateful the bathing may be.

What is to take the place of prisons?